Having problems introducing new guinea pig to bonded pair

Bonnie320121

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I'm new to The Guinea Pig forum and I'm really in need of some help and advice please.
We bought two guinea pigs nearly two years ago, Rosie and Lola, they are a bonded pair and get on very well. Lola is the more dominant of them, Rosie does try to assert her authority with bum waggling and dominance but Lola has never taken any notice and they have a harmonious relationship. We recently bought a new guinea, I followed the advice of introducing them slowly as I didn't want to stress any of them. There's been lots of teeth chattering, at first with Rosie and Lola but now the new guinea pig Beatrice does it too. We have set up a meet and greet in neutral territory and put down food and have kept an eye on them. There was lots of teeth ch and dominance between all of them and a few minor scuffles, mainly between Lola and Beatrice, but that calmed down but now it's Rosie and Beatrice that are doing lots of teeth chattering to each other, the only reason I can think is because Rosie wasn't the more dominant Guinea pig she is trying to assert her authority over Beatrice but she isn't backing down. The last meet and greet didn't go well at all. I introduced a new cage and put them all together and everything was going OK, I didn't leave them overnight together I just put a cage panel in to separate them. The next day I took the cage panel away for there meet and greet and everything was OK and then there was a shuffle between all of them and Rose's ear was quite badly cut. This was a few days ago, her ear is healing up but I haven't put them together again as I'm so nervous. At the moment they are in one big cage with a panel to separate them so they can see and smell each other, they sniff each other through the bars and Lola bites the bars. There isn't any teeth chattering going on and they all seem pretty calm. I really don't know how to proceed. Do I try again in neutral territory? Or is this a failed bonding? I feel so sorry for Beatrice as she just wants to be with them and be part of their gang but could be quite feisty when they were together. If it is a failed bonding what can I do to about Beatrice? Will she be ok on her own in a cage attached to theirs? Rehoming isn't an option. I have thought getting another guinea pig as a companion for her but don't want to make things worse.
Sorry for the epic tale but I really don't know what to do...
 

Hope4gem

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I'm somewhat of a newbie here, but if one of the piggies was injured (ear cut, as you say) during the intro then I would say that sadly that may be a failed bonding. Teeth chattering, mounting, chasing, etc. are all fine, but if there's a scuffle that results in an injury that's typically where the line is drawn, so to speak. Hopefully, someone with more experience will be along soon and will correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Hans123456789

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I'm not only newbie here, i have almost no experience/i dont have experience. but I think it need more time. Some guinea pigs need more time in this, every day try put them on neutral territory with lots of food, houses, toys. i think it may take several weeks, or it may be rly a failed bonding. dont wait and you should contact profesional ( someone from guinea pig boarding, kennel, someone who have years of practice with guinea pigs). Crossed fingers, good luck
 

xRoan

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From what I've read, you need to leave them together after the first introduction. The bonding can be considered a success if the piggies take a nap together and wake up and show no dominant or adverse behaviors. If blood is drawn, the bonding is considered a failure.

Edited to add: If you are not willing/able to rehome, most people suggest finding a nearby rescue and sending your piggy to them for bonding. They know exactly what to look for, when to consider it a failure, and may have multiple different individual piggies to try Beatrice out with. There's a list of recommended rescue somewhere here on the forum.

I would give this thread a good read:
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
 

Piggies&buns

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Bonding is a one time thing. You should not put them together and then separate and then put them together again as all this does is interrupt the process and mean they never fully establish anything. You put them together on neutral territory for many hours and seen it through to conclusion whether that is success or failure all on that one day. If things do go well in the bonding pen, then it will still take them a further two weeks of being together to completely sort out their relationship and hierarchy.
If they cannot work out a rough functioning hierarchy during that time (dominance is normal, but it’s about knowing when things are more than that), then they do not like each other, it’s a failure and they will need to live as a pair and a single (or getting a new compatible friend for the single piggy). The single can live as a neighbour or she can have a new live in friend. Buying a piggy on spec is always a risk of a failure as you dont know the character of the new piggy. Taking existing piggies to a rescue centre for dating and bonding is safest as they will then choose their own new friend so you know you only bring home a successful bonded group.

How old is Beatrice? This can make a difference. If she is younger, then the theory is that she cannot challenge for dominance. However, what works on paper doesn’t always work in practice as if all comes down to the piggies. Sometimes adding piggies to a bonded pair simply doesn’t work.

Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
 

Bill & Ted

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I agree with everything Piggies&buns has said, it’s sound advice. Don’t beat yourself up, I had a falled bond this year, it’s very disappointing but you have to move on and think about what’s the best option for you and the piggies x
 

Bonnie320121

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Bonding is a one time thing. You should not put them together and then separate and then put them together again as all this does is interrupt the process and mean they never fully establish anything. You put them together on neutral territory for many hours and seen it through to conclusion whether that is success or failure all on that one day. If things do go well in the bonding pen, then it will still take them a further two weeks of being together to completely sort out their relationship and hierarchy.
If they cannot work out a rough functioning hierarchy during that time (dominance is normal, but it’s about knowing when things are more than that), then they do not like each other, it’s a failure and they will need to live as a pair and a single (or getting a new compatible friend for the single piggy). The single can live as a neighbour or she can have a new live in friend. Buying a piggy on spec is always a risk of a failure as you dont know the character of the new piggy. Taking existing piggies to a rescue centre for dating and bonding is safest as they will then choose their own new friend so you know you only bring home a successful bonded group.

How old is Beatrice? This can make a difference. If she is younger, then the theory is that she cannot challenge for dominance. However, what works on paper doesn’t always work in practice as if all comes down to the piggies. Sometimes adding piggies to a bonded pair simply doesn’t work.

Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
Bonding is a one time thing. You should not put them together and then separate and then put them together again as all this does is interrupt the process and mean they never fully establish anything. You put them together on neutral territory for many hours and seen it through to conclusion whether that is success or failure all on that one day. If things do go well in the bonding pen, then it will still take them a further two weeks of being together to completely sort out their relationship and hierarchy.
If they cannot work out a rough functioning hierarchy during that time (dominance is normal, but it’s about knowing when things are more than that), then they do not like each other, it’s a failure and they will need to live as a pair and a single (or getting a new compatible friend for the single piggy). The single can live as a neighbour or she can have a new live in friend. Buying a piggy on spec is always a risk of a failure as you dont know the character of the new piggy. Taking existing piggies to a rescue centre for dating and bonding is safest as they will then choose their own new friend so you know you only bring home a successful bonded group.

How old is Beatrice? This can make a difference. If she is younger, then the theory is that she cannot challenge for dominance. However, what works on paper doesn’t always work in practice as if all comes down to the piggies. Sometimes adding piggies to a bonded pair simply doesn’t work.

Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?
Thank you for replying to my thread. Beatrice is about 17 weeks and we've had her a month, I think in hindsight I dithered when it came to putting them together as I didn't really know what to do and if I was doing the right thing (I hadn't known about all the advice on here about introductions) as she is only young could the dominance and teeth chattering be a learnt behaviour from Rosie and Lola? Would anything be any different if Beatrice was older and would it be worth waiting until she is and leaving them in joining cages and then try again? Could the fact that I put them in a new cage altogether and then separated them with cage panels overnight and then took the panels away the next day have contributed to the squabble as it happened when Rosie and Lola were in Beatrice's side of the cage? I know I'm probably grasping at straws but want to make sure I have tried everything before I admit defeat!
Thanks again for your help.
 

Piggies&buns

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No it’s not a learnt behaviour in that sense - it’s a normal behaviour, she will do it even if she was with piggies she got on with.
Age is much less of a factor - if they don’t get on, then they don’t get on. Her being older won’t change that.

You can’t put piggies into each other’s cages, or just remove panels. Being allowed to wander into each other sides constitutes a territory invasion. Any meeting needs to be done on completely neutral territory (ie removing them from the cage completely and putting them into an entirely new space where neither piggy sees as their normal territory).
 

Bonnie320121

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No it’s not a learnt behaviour in that sense - it’s a normal behaviour, she will do it even if she was with piggies she got on with.
Age is much less of a factor - if they don’t get on, then they don’t get on. Her being older won’t change that.

You can’t put piggies into each other’s cages, or just remove panels. Being allowed to wander into each other sides constitutes a territory invasion. Any meeting needs to be done on completely neutral territory (ie removing them from the cage completely and putting them into an entirely new space where neither piggy sees as their normal territory).
Thank you for replying so quickly. Sorry to be a pain! Bearing that in mind would should I try again in neutral territory? Thank you again for your help, it's very much appreciated.
 

Piggies&buns

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When forming a new hierarchy, it works from the top down. So Lola as dominant of the pair wouldn’t want to relinquish her position so Beatrice had to decide to step down. It then is between Rosie and Beatrice to decide which one of them is going to be number 2 and which one number 3. If neither will back down and accept the third position, then this wont be a harmonious relationship. If one of them does back down and they can work things out between them then it will work out.

Whether you try again all depends on how serious their ‘scuffle’ was. If it was very serious then it would not be worth trying again. You say it didn’t go well and that an injury was caused. This may be the answer you need to say that they are never going to get on and call it quits and have them living as neighbours. An injury caused by them not liking each other (rather than a misplaced swipe p) would be enough to not risk trying again.
 
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